What is it?

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) provide state-of-the-art imaging to assist your physician in determining key information about an abnormality, including whether or not it may be malignant. This information can be critical in determining if you are a candidate for treatment, and the available appropriate options.

PET/CT combines spatial/structural (anatomic) and functional imaging within one instrument to provide information on the presence of abnormalities with regard to location, size, number, adjacencies, distribution, and function. Thus, an abnormality identified with a CT scan can be further assessed with a PET/CT scan to determine the likelihood of it being malignant (cancer). Your physician can use the information provided by a PET/CT scan to determine the exact location of a malignant lesion, if it is localized, or if multiple lesions are present (metastases). This information is critical in determining appropriate and available treatment options, thereby helping you to receive the right therapy, avoid multiple diagnostic procedures, and potentially avoid costly and risk-associated therapies from which there would be no benefit.

Unlike an ultrasound, X-ray, standard MRI, or CT scan (spatial imaging techniques),
a PET scan (a functional imaging technique) provides unique information to:

  • Distinguish between living and dead tissue, or between malignant and
    non-malignant (benign) disorders
  • Prompt more timely treatment with appropriate therapy, thus improving the
    probability of a successful outcome

PET detects increases in cellular metabolism (how active a cell is), which often indicates the presence of disease. A special type of sugar is combined with a safe, radioactive component to produce the radioactive tracer called Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). Once injected into a vein, the tracer, which emits signals detected by the PET scanner, is taken up by more active cells, such as malignant cancer cells, that use sugar as an energy source, but not by less active cells, such as benign cells (non-cancerous) and scar tissue, that use less sugar as an energy source. Increasingly, PET scans are now using tracers attached to molecules that characterize the biology of the disease, such as PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen) and prostate cancer, or amyloid and neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The possibilities for characterizing a range of disabilities—including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, joint disease and inflammatory conditions—through unique molecules that define the disease processes (ligands) linked with novel isotopes for imaging and therapy present an exciting, innovative future for molecular medicine.

A CT scan provides a detailed picture of the body’s internal anatomy. It is able to detect and localize changes in the body structure or anatomy, such as the size, shape, and exact location of an abnormal growth, a sizeable tumor, or a musculoskeletal injury.

As western Canada’s only private PET/CT scan facility, INITIO has nearly 20 years of diagnostic scanning experience.

2000 INITIO attained the 1st PET machine in Canada and the 1st license to produce fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
2010 INITIO began performing PET/CT oncology (cancer) FDG scans.
2018 INITIO provides Alzheimer’s amyloid scans using Amyvid, Neuraceq, and Flutemetamol.

INITIO is also actively seeking to provide 68Ga-PSMA imaging for persons with prostate cancer.

PET/CT Literature

scan-2

By the Numbers

50%

A recent Canadian study by Worsley et al. (2010) found that the information derived from PET imaging resulted in a change in intended treatment plans in 50% of cases (1).

70%

PET imaging allows physicians to avoid
costly biopsy surgeries in as many as 70%
of cases (1).

$60,544

A study comparing different staging techniques for patients with esophageal cancer found PET-based diagnostic imaging to have a cost-effectiveness ratio of USD $60,544 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) (7).

50%

A recent Canadian study by Worsley et al. (2010) found that the information derived from PET imaging resulted in a change in intended treatment plans in 50% of cases (1).

70%

PET imaging allows physicians to avoid
costly biopsy surgeries in as many as 70%
of cases (1).

$60,544

A study comparing different staging techniques for patients with esophageal cancer found PET-based diagnostic imaging to have a cost-effectiveness ratio of USD $60,544 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) (7).

What is it For?

Oncology

PET/CT can be very helpful to determine the location and distribution of cancer; distinguish between malignant and non-malignant conditions; select treatment; and monitor the response to therapy, including demonstration of complete control of abnormal function associated with the presence of cancer.

Neurology

PET/CT is emerging rapidly as a non-invasive technique to image both the structure and function of the brain.

 

 

 

Cardiology

PET is a means of measuring heart function and metabolism, and assists in determining treatment.

Role Within Health Care Systems

 While PET/CT scanners have been predominantly used in oncology, they are now increasingly used in various disciplines such as general internal medicine, infectious diseases, cardiology, neurology, surgery, traumatology, orthopedics, pediatrics, endocrinology, rheumatology, psychiatry, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience … and many jurisdictions have begun to expand the publicly funded indications for PET/CTs to include many non-cancer indications.

Rapid Synthesis, McMaster University, 2018

At INITIO, we firmly believe that health care in B.C. can be the best in the world. That’s why, through our clinic, we’re proactively investing in advanced molecular (personalized) imaging, such as PET/CT and radionuclide therapeutics, in order to support the public health care system and the health of every British Columbian and Canadian.

2

The World Health Organization recommends that countries should have 2 PET/CT scanners per million people. PET/CT is used for various indications including oncology, neurology, and cardiology.

0.62

There are only 0.62 PET/CT scanners per million people in British Columbia. In B.C., PET/CT imaging is not provided for non-cancer indications.

2.24

There are 2.24 PET/CT scanners per million people in Australia. In Australia, PET/CT is used for various indications including oncology, neurology, and cardiology.

2

The World Health Organization recommends that countries should have 2 PET/CT scanners per million people. PET/CT is used for various indications including oncology, neurology, and cardiology.

0.62

There are only 0.62 PET/CT scanners per million people in British Columbia. In B.C., PET/CT imaging is not provided for non-cancer indications.

2.24

There are 2.24 PET/CT scanners per million people in Australia. In Australia, PET/CT is used for various indications including oncology, neurology, and cardiology.

Is it safe?

PET/CT is safe.

  • It is similar in terms of safety to diagnostic procedures found in radiology (e.g. X-rays, MRIs)
  • Millions of PET scans have been performed worldwide.
  • The exposure level to radiation is very small and is considered safe for a medically-appropriate diagnostic procedure.
  • The radioactive tracers used in PET/CT disappear from your body completely within 24 hours.
  • We employ all safety measures and safety equipment and are happy to provide more information about any of our procedures.

Are you or a loved one considering a PET/CT scan?

We know that making decisions about medical procedures can be stressful, and we want you to be informed and empowered in your choices. As such, these forms are here to guide you regarding how to determine if a PET/CT is right for you or a loved one, and what the process will be like.

Learn More